INCLUSIVITY

IEBC rolls out aggressive campaign to net unlisted voters

Poll agency has structured the mobilisation to target youths and people with disability

In Summary
  • IEBC to provide BVR kits in every university within the republic.
  • The poll agency has structured the mobilisation to target youths and people with disability.
IEBC commissioner Juliana Cherera at Whitesands Beach Hotel in Mombasa on Friday.
UP TO TASK IEBC commissioner Juliana Cherera at Whitesands Beach Hotel in Mombasa on Friday.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

The Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission is going flat out to mobilise Kenyans to register as voters in the mass listing slated for Monday next week.

The poll agency has structured the mobilisation to target youths and people with disability.

To have more youths register, the commission says there would be a biometric voter registration kit at every university to enable students to list for the August vote.

IEBC vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera told the Star that the students will be registered from their institutions and can vote in any part of the country.

“They do not have to go back to their rural homes to be registered as voters in the exercise starting Monday next week,” she said.

She spoke on Thursday during the unveiling of a Disability Inclusion Coordinating Committee (DICC) to champion the cause of PWDs.

The team will not only lead the mobilisation of PWDs to register as voters, but also ensure they seek elective posts and get a fair share in nominations through party lists.

Cherera said a similar team has been created to coordinate the youth in efforts to shore up the numbers of people turning out for the mass listing.

“We have done the same to the youth, who are now speaking with each other in the language they understand and motivating themselves to come out and register,” she said.

The IEBC vice-chairperson said the commission had received funding for the second continuous voter registration (CVR).

“We did not have sufficient when we did CVR1. We complained, but the government has given us funds hence the reason we are able to do CVR2,” Cherera said.

She said the coordinating committees were formed with a view to pursuing the cause of the special interest groups to ensure they fully participate in the election.

“We do form a committee that will coordinate their activities and link us with other organiSations on the same.”

Cherera said the team would also help the IEBC make polling centres disability-friendly and also help determine the scope of the interventions to accommodate the special groups.

“Disability presents itself in different forms so we work with them to advise us. For the general election, the team will coordinate all others from Nairobi,” she said.

“They will not be housed at the IEBC but we will coordinate them together with IFES [International Foundation for Electoral Systems]. We will be working closely with the leadership established today,” Cherera added.

“Our launch will ensure our processes are disability-friendly…it is a way of doing mobilisation of the team that is always left out.”

The DICC chairman Samuel Kabue of the Caucus of Disability Rights Advocacy said, “The outreach by the IEBC is a fulfilment of many commitments the government has made towards the inclusion of PWDs.”

He said the committee would champion the participation of persons with disability in the political processes as provided for by the Constitution.

“We are glad the IEBC has seen the need to form a committee that will raise issues in line with PWDs needs. All sectors will be reached through the committee,” Kabue said.

“We hope to collaborate on voter education and civic education around the processes…and also address areas of concerns where there are gaps.”

Article 54 (2) of the Constitution provides that the government ensures progressive realisation of five per cent representation of persons with disability in all elective and appointive positions.

We see this as a fulfilment of what the government has committed itself to. We hope to create awareness among PWD and address areas of concern in representation, particularly the MCA level, Kabue said.

The group’s terms of reference are to work with IEBC to ensure participation of PWDs is achieved, monitored and evaluated across the electoral cycle.

It would also support IEBC in the development and distribution of PWD-targeted voter information and communication materials.

The committee would also mobilise and hold PWD forums across 47 counties and 290 constituencies where voter education messages will be disseminated.

It will also advise the IEBC on designing and implementing PWD-friendly programmes and strategies as well as apply for accreditation as election observers and voter education providers.

The committee will further collaborate with the commission in conducting voter education for members of their representative groups and co-opt other disability-friendly organisations.

 

(edited by Amol Awuor)